Right to Light

Right to Light is a form of easement that gives a long-standing owner of a building a right to maintain a certain level of natural light received through specified apertures of a building. Right to Light is based on the Ancient Lights Law and is usually acquired under the Prescription Act 1832, occurring once light has been appreciated for at least 20 years continued use. To determine what is considered ‘sufficient’ light, experts use a method initiated by Percy Waldram in the 1920s, which suggests that a person requires a certain level of illuminance (0.2% sky factor), the same figure which is applied by the courts.

It is advised that a developer should seek specialist advice in the event their new development has the potential to impair the light being received by a neighbouring property. Whilst small loss of light may only result in monetary compensation, a significant infringement may give the neighbouring property owner the right to seek an injunction to have the development reduced in size or even partly demolished post completion.

Whilst the cost of financial compensation can be significant, the consequences of an injunction will in most cases be even more costly.


  • Legal fees
  • Financial settlement (damages)
  • Delay costs
  • Loss in land or asset value
  • Loss of gross profit
  • Loss of rental income
  • Limit of indemnity with an indexation
  • Neighbourly matters
  • Specified perimeters